Two Cults Talking?

Just read a back issue of our local newspaper – dated May 10, 2008 – written during the pope’s visit to the United States. So, excuse me if I am a little stale dated here on this posting.

It talks about the relationship between “two churches” – the Roman Catholic Church and the Mormon Church. It appears that during one of the pope’s prayer services while visiting the United States he was joined by representatives of the Mormon Church.

This is followed up by a concern expressed by a new letter from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy issued before the pope’s visit expressing some “grave reservations” being expressed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith – the Roman Catholic Church’s watchdog group regarding doctrine.

It seems the Mormons have been asking the Roman Catholic clergy to open their records so that the Mormons can then use the information obtained for the “proxy baptisms” of deceased Catholics by Mormons. The Roman Catholic Church is politely calling this a “detrimental practice”.

Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, believe that by performing such baptisms they can offer their ancestors the chance to become Mormons after death. So the Roman Catholic Church is seeking to stop Mormons from posthumously baptizing Catholic ancestors and thus making them Mormons. Parish registers are no longer open or available to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Interesting! The Church that “talks to the dead” (praying to the saints and to Mary) is refusing permission to the Church that “baptizes for the dead”. Ironic. Maybe what we really have is two cults talking to each other.

Just a thought.

6 replies
  1. Thaddeus
    Thaddeus says:

    As a Mormon cultist, I think it’s silly for the Catholics to get so upset about baptisms for the dead. If Mormonism is wrong, then our baptisms have no effect. If we are right, then it is the best possible thing we can be doing for their ancestors.

    How does your cult view baptisms for the dead? 1 Corinthians 15:29

    Reply
  2. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Hi Thaddeus,

    I don’t belong to a cult – but, if you are a Mormon, then you do. Your religious group – which has many things about it that I respect, by the way – is a cult because you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God and is God Himself in human flesh (the Incarnation). You also hold a number of other theological viewpoints that are outside of the basic Christian doctrine as held for centuries by the Church. As well, the extra writting in the Book of Mormon do not line up with Scriptures and thus form a teaching base that is not Christian making the Mormon Church a cult.

    I am a Born Again Christian who believes the Bible is the only authority upon which to base life and that Jesus is truly and exactly who He said He was – God Himself .

    The verse you ask about is the only reference to the “baptism for the dead” and, as good biblical scholarship teaches – you do not form a doctrine from one verse. Also, unless the verse is followed by a command (such as ‘you therefore need to baptize for the dead’) then you don’t create a Church practice on that one verse.

    The way you correctly interpret scripture is in context – the verse within the context of the chapter, the chapter within the context of the book of the Bible, the book of the Bible within the context of the whole Bible. Never in isolation by iteself as the Mormons and most other cults have done.

    This verse does not teach that a dead person can be saved by another person’s being baptized on his behalf, because baptism never has a part in a person’s salvation. (see Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:28; Romans 4:3; Romans 6:3-4).

    My understanding of it is that believers were being baptized because they were originally drawn to the true Christian faith by the life-style and testimony – the faithful influence and witness – of believers who had, previous to their conversion and baptism, already died. In other words, someone has a profound impact upon a non-believer and this influence leads the non-believer to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. They become members of the true Church and while preparing for baptism (the early church did have a baptism peparation system) the person whose life-style was so influencial in bringing this person to faith in Christ dies for whatever reason (natural causes, persecution, etc.). Thus they are being “baptized for (as a result of) the dead” person’s influence.

    Whether you buy that understanding or not is really not important. What is imporant to grasp is that you cannot form a doctrine to base your life on by taking one verse out of context. Most cults form because they do just this.

    Reply
  3. Thaddeus
    Thaddeus says:

    So, your definition of cult is ‘any system of belief that I don’t agree with.’ Would you agree that Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism are also all cults?

    We Mormons don’t base our doctrine on single verses from the Bible. In fact, we don’t even hold the Bible to be the sole source of truth. The Bible got its Truth from prophets, and prophets received it from the Lord. Our source of truth is the Lord, Jesus Christ, who is God. If that makes us a cult, then so was the original Christian church, since they put a lot of stock in the visions and revelations of Peter and angelic visitations to Paul. And what business did John the Beloved have, writing new scripture on the Isle of Patmos?

    Reply
  4. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Thaddeus,
    No! My definition of a cult is any religious group that claims to be Christian (Mormons) and yet does not teach the correct biblical doctrines of the Christian faith. Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism are not cults – they are religions. Religion is man’s attempt to reach and please God. The Christian faith is God’s way of reaching out and touching man. So, you belong to a cult and the others you mentioned are simply religions.

    You have stated the problem very well: “”In fact, we don’t even hold the Bible to be the sole source of truth”. The Bible is the revealed will of God and the standard by which any other revelation received – through an angel, a vision, a dream. a prophetic word – must be tested, tried and proven. When you don’t have this standard to work from then you end up in error as the Mormon’s have. By using the writings of Joseph Smith and others as your standards (along with the Bible) you have produced many false teachings and beliefs and so have deceived many into doctrines that are not of God and will drastically effect their eternal destiny – baptized or not!

    The Mormon doctrines are contrary to the Christian doctrines in the following areas:
    1> God
    2> Christ
    3> The Holy Spirit
    4> Sin
    5> Redemption
    6> Salvation
    7> Retribution

    Although your religion (cult) uses the same words as the Christian faith does – you have different meanings attached to those words. Only as we talk together and actually define the words do we then see we are not talking about the same thing at all.

    I am willing to go into detail if you would like on all of these issues quoting your authors – leaders and founders – including the page numbers and book titles…

    I look forward to your reply!

    Reply
  5. Thaddeus
    Thaddeus says:

    I’m not interested in discussing the differences between evangelical Christianity and Mormonism. I’ve heard them all before ad nauseam, and it is a tiresome debate. You will attribute the disparity to Mormon leaders departing from strict adherence to the Bible, and I will attribute it to early Christianity falling into apostasy and mixing false, worldly philosophies in with Christian teachings (i.e. the Nicene Creed).

    I’m more interested in your definition of ‘cult.’

    What about Scientology?

    Reply
  6. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Hi Thaddeus,
    One of the problems with not discussing your beliefs as compared to or contrasted with the Christian beliefs is that we then avoid discussing the issues that cause the Christian Church to deem the Mormons a cult. I hope you will change your mind.

    Your comment regarding the Nicene Creed having been influenced by worldly philosophies is an uncalled for comment in our conversation and is not backed up by historical fact. However, I will let that go for now – just note that I have no problem with your comment about “early Christianity falling into apostasy and mixing false, worldly philosophies in with Christian teachings”. Just a problem with your understanding of the history behind and the biblical content of the Nicene Creed. You have stated your opinion – not fact!

    A definition of a cult – one of many (all similar)…

    cult

    Collective veneration or worship (e.g., the cult of the saints
    meaning collective veneration of the saints
    in Roman Catholicism).

    In the West, the term has come to be used for groups that are perceived to have deviated from normative religions in belief and practice. They typically have a charismatic leader and attract followers who are in some way disenfranchised from the mainstream of society. Cults as thus defined are often viewed as foreign or dangerous.
    © 2005 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

    Hope that helps you know where I am coming from. There are many definitions out there – but this one was short and concise so I thought best to go with it.

    Looking forward to continuing this conversation…

    Reply

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